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Barrick mulls Acacia sale; Pilbara Minerals secures Pilgangoora financing


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Barrick mulls Acacia sale; Pilbara Minerals secures Pilgangoora financing


Barrick Gold exploring sale of Acacia Mining stake, says new CEO

Barrick Gold Corp. is considering options for its 64% interest in Acacia Mining PLC, including a possible sale, splitting Acacia or a possible buyout, Reuters reported, citing new CEO Mark Bristow. This comes as the company looks to resolve a prolonged tax dispute between the Tanzanian government and Acacia's operations in the country.

Pilbara Minerals flags stage-3 Pilgangoora expansion, secures stage-2 funding

Pilbara Minerals Ltd. shares rose 16.0% on Jan. 3 after locking in funding for its A$231 million Pilgangoora lithium project in Western Australia, flagging a stage-three expansion and making moves with POSCO to develop a larger joint venture chemical conversion facility in South Korea. The funding package comprises a US$25 million off-take prepayment from Great Wall Motor Co. Ltd., a A$50 million equity placement to Ganfeng Lithium Co. Ltd. and a proposed US$50 million Nordic bond. The balance of the A$231 million will come from existing cash mostly related to the previous equity placement to POSCO and future cash flow generated from stage-one operations.

Tariff exclusion process baffles US steel importers

Steel and aluminum importers and manufacturers are puzzled with the inconsistencies and the rapid changes in the process to secure exclusions from the tariffs imposed on the commodities, The Wall Street Journal reported. The U.S. Commerce Department has approved approximately 75% of the 19,000 requests it processed to exclude products from tariffs on imported steel as of Dec. 17, 2018, the report said.


* Advocacy group the Rocky Mountain Institute partnered with BHP Group Ltd. to redevelop 22 legacy mine sites in the U.S. to host renewable energy production, zeroing in on six locations in the Southwest as their first targets. In what is likely to be the most common scenario for installing renewables at mine sites, solar panels can be situated atop tailings dams, with gold and copper mines identified as well-suited for renewable energy development.

* Separately, financial analysts from advisory firm Shaw and Partners and investment bank UBS said BHP will reap the benefits of its share buybacks, increased dividends and a balanced portfolio as the resources experts expect the mining giant to surpass rival Rio Tinto this year, The Australian Financial Review reported.


* India's Tamil Nadu state approached the Supreme Court to challenge an environmental court's decision to set aside the state government's ordered closure of Vedanta Ltd.'s Tuticorin copper smelter, Mint reported.

* Australian Mines Ltd. mutually agreed with SK Innovation Co. Ltd. to extend the period to finalize the financing package for the SCONI cobalt-nickel-scandium project in Queensland, Australia, to Sept. 19, contradicting earlier speculation from The Australian that the larger off-take deal was up in the air. The base metals explorer reiterated that it is finalizing the tonnage under the cobalt sulfate and nickel sulfate off-take deal and extending to Feb. 20 an option for SK Innovation to subscribe to 669 million shares at 12 Australian cents each.

* Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. secured an option to acquire Benton Resources Inc.'s Baril Lake claims near the Bark Lake copper-nickel-platinum group metals project in Ontario.


* A group of Guyana Goldfields Inc. shareholders, including company founder Patrick Sheridan, is seeking to replace the seven-member board with its own nominees. The group, which collectively owns at least a 5% stake, claimed the current board is responsible for the loss of more than C$1 billion in shareholder value since 2016.

* Group Ten Metals Inc. completed the earn-in requirements for the 24-square-kilometer Black Lake claim block, part of the Black Lake-Drayton gold project in northwestern Ontario.

* Infill drilling increased measured and indicated gold resources at Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd.'s Tulkubash project, part of its Chaarat property in the Kyrgyz Republic, by 15% to 1.6 million ounces, following a 46% increase in September 2018. The miner has increased the measured and indicated Tulkubash resource by 67% since an April 2018 feasibility study.

* KEFI Minerals PLC extended an agreement with project equity investor ANS Mining Share Co. to January for the latter to release the first tranche of US$9 million for the Tulu Kapi gold project in Ethiopia, due to a delay in the receipt of government consents. KEFI had expected to receive the sum by December 2018.

* Orinoco Gold Ltd.'s Cascavel gold mine in Brazil has seen an operational turnaround in recent weeks that led to monthly gold sales of about 96 ounces in December 2018, the highest since July 2018. Meanwhile, the company completed the final 10 meters of development mining at Mestre level 7, which will allow it to mine expected high-grade mineralization.


* Daye Special Steel Co. Ltd., which is 58.13% indirectly owned by CITIC Ltd., entered into a deal with six parties to acquire an 86.5% stake in Jiangyin Xingcheng Special Steel Works Co. Ltd. for 23.18 billion Chinese yuan. After the transaction, CITIC's holding in the enlarged Daye Special Steel will increase to 83.52%.

* Private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC is aiming to reach a deal by mid-January to acquire Arconic Inc., Bloomberg News reported, citing unnamed sources. Apollo emerged as the leading bidder for the aluminum products maker with its offer of about US$22 per share, according to the report.

* Brazil's Administrative Council for Economic Defense approved Vale SA's US$500 million acquisition of New Steel SA from Hankoe Fundo de Investimento em Participações, Valor Econômico reported.

* Output from Coal India Ltd.'s eight coal-producing subsidiaries rose 7.4% year over year to 412.5 million tonnes in the first three quarters of its fiscal 2019, The Hindu reported. Among the units, Eastern Coalfields Ltd. produced some of the highest coal grades and posted the highest growth rate of 17.2%.

* Rescuers have pumped about 120,000 liters of water from an old shaft near a coal mine in India's Meghalaya state where 15 miners have been trapped since Dec. 13, 2018, The Economic Times of India reported. With the water level lowered by 16 inches, Coal India is now preparing to use a 100-horsepower submersible pump that can discharge 500 gallons per minute from the site.

* A judge granted a federal prosecutor's motion to depose employees of Justice Energy Co. Inc., a coal company owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, for information about the company's ability to pay a US$1.2 million court-imposed sanction.

* Olympic Steel Inc. acquired the assets of McCullough Industries Inc., an Ohio-based company that manufactures and sells branded self-dumping hoppers used in industrial applications, in an all-cash deal. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

* Polish mines extracted about 5.5 million tonnes of hard coal in November 2018, while the monthly sales volume reached 5.2 million tonnes, Puls Biznesu reported, citing data from the Katowice branch of the Industrial Development Agency.

* Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. appointed Sudhanshu Saraf as the CEO of its steel business. It promoted Naushad Akhter Ansari, who was CEO of the steel business, to the role of joint managing director, effective Jan. 1.


* Strandline Resources Ltd. selected Nedbank Ltd. as a lead arranger and underwriter of a US$26 million, five-year finance facility for its Fungoni heavy mineral sands project in Tanzania. The facility will account for the majority of the total estimated development costs of about US$32.1 million.

* Lynas Corp. Ltd. filed an appeal against a new precondition imposed by Malaysia's Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change for the permit renewal of its Gebeng rare earths plant. The ministry wants the rare earths producer to export the water leach purification residue out of Malaysia before Sept. 2.

* Sunrise Resources PLC split its NewPerl project area into two for future permitting reasons. It named the northern portion the Jackson Wash project, and the southern area will keep the name NewPerl.

* Scandium International Mining Corp. received a notification from the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment that it is reviewing the grant of a mine lease to the company's EMC Metals Australia Pty. Ltd. unit for the Nyngan scandium project in Australia.

* Azincourt Energy Corp. signed a letter of intent with an arm's-length third-party investor to provide at least C$750,000 in funds for the ongoing winter work program at the East Preston uranium project in Saskatchewan.

* Pure Energy Minerals Ltd. received a water right from the Nevada Division of Water Resources to extract lithium brine for a planned pilot plant at the company's flagship Clayton Valley project.


* U.S. Justice Department lawyers representing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have started requesting stays for ongoing energy-related lawsuits as congressional Democrats continue to spar with President Donald Trump over funding for his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

* Election monitors from the Southern African Development Community, or SADC, said the Democratic Republic of the Congo's presidential election "went relatively well" amid allegations by opposition candidates that the Dec. 30, 2018, vote was marred by widespread irregularities, Reuters reported. Endorsement from SADC powers such as South Africa and Angola will be crucial to the legitimacy of the DRC's next president, who will succeed the long-serving Joseph Kabila.

* Mining companies operating in Zambia have not replied to government requests to show the impact of higher taxes introduced this year despite objecting to the new framework, Reuters reported. The permanent secretary for mines, Paul Chanda, said the ministry asked mining companies to provide financial models to assess the impact of the new taxes on production and profitability by Dec. 28, 2018, but none of them did so.

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